In the United States, the average monthly water bill is $41.52 for a family of 4 using 100 gallons per person. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average American family consumes around 300 gallons of water per day.
Water prices are on the rise across the United States. In fact, the average household water bill increased by 4.8% last year. Some regions experienced even higher price hikes, surpassing 15%. Since 2012, water prices have risen by almost 40%, presenting a significant challenge for many families, particularly those with limited financial resources.
To address these concerns, it's crucial to identify areas where water costs are comparatively lower and understand how water bills are calculated. In this article, we will delve into the average cost of water across the United States, providing valuable insights to help you manage your expenses and make informed decisions.
Let's explore the data and ensure you stay informed about the current state of water bills in the United States.
- The average monthly water bill in the United States is $41.52!
- West Virginia has the highest average monthly water bill at $105.
- North Carolina is the cheapest state with an average monthly water bill of just $20.
- The average American household uses around 300 gallons of water each day.
- The average American uses around 100 gallons of water each day.
- A single toilet flush uses 1.6 gallons.
What Are the Top Ten States for Highest Water Bills?
Here are the top ten states with the highest average monthly water bills:
|Rank||State||Average Monthly Water Bill|
What Are the Top Ten States for Lowest Water Bills?
Here are the top ten states with the cheapest average monthly water bills:
|Rank||State||Average Monthly Water Bill|
Average Monthly Water Bill in All the States
Let’s take a closer look at the average monthly water bill across the United States.
|Rank||State||Average Monthly Water Bill|
In Alabama, the average water bill amounts to $24 per month. However, it's important to note that the total water bill also includes a sewer bill of $36, bringing the combined total to over $60.
Specifically in Birmingham, water bills saw an increase of $5 between 2018 and 2019. This upward trend has continued in subsequent years, with the average residential water bill increasing by $1.50 in 2021 and another $1 in 2022, as per Birmingham Water Works.
Alaska is having some of the highest utility costs in North America, and water is no exception. The average monthly water bill in Alaska amounts to $87, while sewerage costs an average of $75.
Given its desert environment, it's not surprising that water rates in Arizona tend to be higher. On average, residents in Arizona face a monthly water bill of $53, while sewerage costs an average of $43.
In Arkansas, the average monthly water bill is $24, and sewerage costs $39.
The cost of living in California is among the highest in the country, and this is reflected in water expenses. The average monthly water bill in California amounts to $76, with sewerage costs averaging $67.
Unfortunately, there is a growing crisis surrounding water debt in California, particularly affecting poor communities. Shockingly, one in every eight households in California is in arrears with water payments. As of January 2023, the total water debt surpassed $1.3 billion, and over 200,000 households owe more than $1,000.
Water costs are rising across all cities in California, with prices increasing by an average of $5.50 in Los Angeles, $11.00 in San Jose, and a significant $15.50 in San Francisco.
In water-rich Colorado, the average monthly water bill is $41, while sewerage costs average $46. In Denver, the average monthly household bill increased by nearly $2 between 2018 and 2020, outpacing inflation. The increase in water bills continued in 2021 and 2022 with the average residential water bill increased by $4.4 in Denver.
In Connecticut, the average monthly water bill is $41, with sewer bills averaging $61.
The average monthly water bill in Delaware is $48, while sewer bills average $44.
Florida continues to offer relatively low rates, with an average monthly water bill of $34. Sewerage costs an average of $42 per month. However, it's worth noting that water bills in Charlotte County have been growing, with the average annual water cost reaching $605.23 in 2023.
Georgia offers some of the cheapest utilities in the country. The average monthly water bill is $28, although sewerage costs a hefty $41.
Despite being surrounded by water, Hawaii's water expenses are relatively high. The average monthly water bill in Hawaii amounts to $64, with sewerage costing $75.
In Idaho, the average monthly water bill is $49, while sewage costs are $40.
Illinois continues to provide affordable rates, with an average monthly water bill of $26, with sewerage costs of $48.
In Indiana, the average monthly water bill is $31, while sewerage costs reach $43.
Iowa benefits from relatively low water costs, primarily due to high agricultural consumption. The average monthly water bill in Iowa is $33, while sewerage averages $40.
Midwestern states like Kansas maintain relatively low rates of water. In Kansas, the average monthly water bill amounts to $31, with sewerage costing an average of $41.
In Kentucky, the average monthly water bill is $31, while sewerage costs average $40.
Thanks to the abundance of swamps in Louisiana, water rates remain low, with the average monthly water bill amounting to $34. However, sewerage bills are higher, averaging $41.
In Maine, residents enjoy relatively affordable water bills, with an average of just $22 per month. Sewerage bills in Maine are around $62 per month.
Water bills in Maryland average $50, while sewerage costs $51 per month. However, it's worth noting that in Baltimore, the cost of water has been soaring. The average water and wastewater bill in Baltimore was $87.23 in 2021, and $95.23 in 2022.
Water costs in Massachusetts are relatively lower compared to some other states, with an average monthly water bill of $33. Sewerage is also affordable, with an average monthly cost of $61.
In Michigan, residents experience an average monthly water bill of $29, while sewerage costs average $45.
Minnesota boasts relatively low water costs, with an average monthly water bill of $30, and sewerage averaging at $42.
Given its association with the famous Mississippi River, water costs in the state of Mississippi are comparatively low. The average monthly cost of water in Mississippi is $35, while sewerage amounts to $38.
In Missouri, the average monthly water bill is $42, and sewerage averages $41.
Montana residents face an average monthly water cost of $41. Additionally, sewerage adds an average of $39 to their utility bills.
Residents of Nebraska enjoy relatively cheap utilities, with the monthly cost of water averaging $32 and sewerage amounts to $40.
Despite Nevada's arid climate, water costs in the state remain comparatively low. The average monthly water bill in Nevada is $50, while sewerage adds an additional $46 to utility bills.
In New Hampshire, the average monthly water cost is $28, with sewerage averaging around an additional $50 each month.
Located adjacent to New York City, New Jersey reflects a high cost of living, including utilities. The average monthly water bill in New Jersey is $71, but good infrastructure makes sewerage comparatively more affordable at $54.
New Mexico residents face an average water bill of $33 per month, with sewerage adding an additional $44 to their total bills.
In the state of New York, the average cost of water is $30 per month, while sewerage amounts to $67. However, it's important to note that there are significant regional variances across the state, with higher costs in New York City itself.
New York City specifically experienced a 2.7% increase in water rates between 2021 and 2022, following two years of keeping prices constant.
North Carolina offers low rates, with the average monthly cost of water at $20 and sewerage at $42.
In North Dakota, residents face an average monthly water bill of $42, while sewerage amounts to $39.
Despite the presence of the Ohio River, crossing it doesn’t significantly impact water rates in Ohio. The average monthly water bill in Ohio state is $28, while sewerage averages $44. It's worth noting that water prices are on the rise in Ohio, with Cleveland experiencing an almost $9 increase in average water bills within one year.
Oklahoma residents have an average monthly water bill of $39, with sewerage adding $41 to their utility bills.
Even in the rainy state of Oregon, monthly water bills average a whopping $88, and sewerage adds $64 to the average household bill.
Pennsylvania offers relatively low utility rates, with water bills averaging at $31, and sewerage costing around $49 each month.
Rhode Island, as a small coastal state, reflects relatively low prices. The average monthly cost of water in Rhode Island is $33, while sewerage adds $52 to the monthly utility bill.
Water bills in South Carolina average $31, while sewerage costs $41 per month, in this southern state.
Similar to its northern neighbor, South Dakota has relatively low water costs, with an average monthly water bill of $26, and sewerage adding just $39.
Tennessee differs from southern trends and has relatively higher water costs for the region. The average monthly water bill in Tennessee is $36, while sewerage adds $41 to the average utility bill.
In Texas, the average monthly water bill is $45, while sewerage amounts to $41. It's important to note that rates vary dramatically across the state.
Dallas experienced a $2 decrease in average water bills between 2018 and 2019, followed by an increase of $0.50 from 2019 to 2020, while El Paso saw an increase of $1 from 2019 to 2020 and Houston witnessed water prices growing by over $7 between 2018 and 2019, followed by an increase of $2 from 2019 to 2020 and $4 from 2020 to 2021.
In Utah, the average water bill is $41, with sewerage averaging $45 per month.
Despite its reputation for a high cost of living, Vermont offers affordable water rates. The average monthly bill is in Vermont just $21, while sewerage adds only $63 to utility costs.
In Virginia, the average monthly water cost is $36, with sewerage adding $48 to the total utility bill.
On the West Coast, Washington is known for its rain, but that doesn't translate to cheap water. The average monthly cost of water in Washington is $78, while sewage adds an average of $66 to the utility bill.
Water doesn't come cheap in West Virginia, with an average monthly water bill of $105 and sewerage charges amounting to $45.
Wisconsin maintains the trend of affordable midwestern water. The average monthly water bill in the state is $21, and sewerage charges are only slightly higher at $43.
In Wyoming, the average monthly water bill amounts to $74, while sewerage averages $39 per month.
With water costs climbing to eye-watering rates, it’s more important than ever to understand how your water bill is being calculated. When you’re hit with higher water charges, it's important to grasp the methodology used in determining your water bill to ensure you get what you pay for.
How is Water Bill Calculated in the United States?
The water bill in the United States is calculated by two factors mainly, including:
- Water usage
- Types of water pricing
Water usage refers to the amount of water consumed within a specific period, typically measured in gallons. In the United States, water bills are typically based on usage. However, the specific pricing model determines how the water bill is calculated.
Types of Water Pricing
In the United States, water utility companies offer mainly four types of water pricing, including:
- Flat Rate Pricing
- Metered Pricing
- Increasing Block Rate Pricing
- Decreasing Block Rate Pricing
Flat Rate Pricing
In a flat-rate pricing model, your water costs remain constant regardless of the volume of water used by the customer. Flat-rate water pricing accounts for an estimated 60% of all water bills in the United States.
In California, the average residential water bill is $76 per month, as of 2023. This rate is the same for all customers, regardless of their usage.
The primary challenge under a flat-rate model is promoting efficient water use. When there is no penalty for excessive water consumption, such as leaving the tap running unnecessarily, it becomes harder to encourage conservation efforts.
In metered pricing model, the customers are charged based on the actual amount of water they consume, as measured in units by a water meter. This means, higher water consumption results in higher bills.
For instance, in New York City, the average residential water bill is $1.5 per unit of water used. The first 150 units of water are free, and then the you'll be charged for each additional unit of water used.
Metered pricing encourages water conservation as customers are billed based on their actual water usage. It provides an incentive for individuals to be mindful of their water consumption and adopt water-saving practices.
However, water pricing can become more intricate than a simple flat rate or metered pricing. Water utility companies employ various pricing models to influence consumer behavior. One common approach is the use of increasing or decreasing block pricing, which accounts for an estimated 10% of all water bills in the United States.
Increasing Block Rate Pricing
In an increasing block rate structure, the cost of water rises as your usage increases. For instance, a water utility company might charge $1 per unit for the first hundred units consumed, $1.5 per unit for the next 100 units of water used, and $2 per unit for any additional water used.
In the city of El Paso, Texas, water utility companies charge $1.25 per unit of water for the first 200 units of water used, $1.5 per unit for the next 200 units of water used, and $2 per unit for any additional water used.
Increasing block rates are commonly employed in areas where water scarcity is a concern, particularly in urban areas. The intention behind this pricing strategy is to discourage excessive water consumption and promote responsible usage. If you find yourself on increasing block plan, it's essential to carefully consider your water consumption choices, as the cost can escalate with higher usage.
Decreasing Block Rate Pricing
In contrast to increasing block rates, a decreasing block rate structure charges less per unit of water as consumption levels rise. For example, a water utility might charge $2 per unit of water for the first 100 units of water used, $1.5 per unit for the next 100 units of water used, and $1 per unit for any additional water used, such as one thousand gallons.
In the city of Phoenix, Arizona, water utility companies charge $2 per unit of water for the first 100 units of water used, $1.75 per unit for the next 100 units of water used, and $1.5 per unit for any additional water used.
While less common in urban areas, decreasing block rates are frequently implemented in rural areas where agricultural practices require significant water usage.
Although counterintuitive for city dwellers, decreasing block pricing mechanism allows water utility companies in areas with abundant water resources to maintain profitability while accommodating customers with higher water needs. By reducing the cost per gallon as consumption increases, it ensures that individuals or businesses requiring larger quantities of water are not heavily penalized.
How to Reduce Your Water Bill
Follow are the top three ways to reduce your water bill:
- Shorten your showers: A typical shower uses about 2 gallons of water per minute. By shortening a 10-minute shower by just 2 minutes, you can save about 8 gallons of water.
- Fix leaky faucets and showerheads: A leaky faucet can waste about 5 gallons of water per day. By fixing a leaky faucet, you can save about 150 gallons of water per month. Additionally, addressing a showerhead with ten drips per minute can result in conserving over 500 gallons of water in a year.
- Upgrading your appliances: Upgrading to newer, water-efficient appliances have the potential to decrease water consumption by 20%, as per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For instance, a high-efficiency toilet using 1.28 gallons per flush compared to 3.5 gallons per flush in older models can save about 2,200 gallons of water per year. Additionally, look for the WaterSense logo when shopping for water-based appliances such as water filter systems, washing machines, and dishwashers as it signifies water-efficient options promoted by the EPA's WaterSense partnership scheme.
Water Cost FAQs
Have you got a burning question about the cost of water? Let’s find out and blow off some steam.
Which State Has the Highest Average Water Bill?
West Virginia has the highest average water bill in the United States coming in at $105 each month. The mountainous terrain of West Virginia makes water provision an expensive business across the state.
Which State Has the Cheapest Average Water Bill?
North Carolina has the cheapest average water bill in the United States at an average of just $20 per month.
How Much Water Does a Person Use in a Month?
The average individual uses 3000 gallons of water per month, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes water used for drinking, bathing, showering, cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns and gardens.
How Much Water Does a Family of Two Use?
The average water usage for a family of two is 144 gallons per day, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What Uses the Most Water in a Household?
The largest water usage in a household is for toilet flushing, which accounts for about 30% of total water usage. Showers come in second, accounting for about 20% of total water usage. Bathing is the third largest water user, accounting for about 17% of total water usage. Other major water users in a household include laundry (13%), dishwashing (10%), and watering lawns and gardens (7%).
How Much Water Does a 20-Minute Shower Use?
A 20-minute shower at the maximum flow rate uses a total of 50 gallons of water. On average, showerheads in the United States have a federally mandated maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM).
However, it's important to note that the actual flow rate of showerheads can vary, and many showerheads have a lower flow rate to promote water conservation.